Jenni Hermoso has been notably left out of the Spanish national squad's recent selections, despite the return of 15 of her fellow World Cup winners. This peculiar development comes on the heels of a significant upheaval in Spanish women's football.
A group of 81 players, including all 23 members of the World Cup-winning squad, declared their refusal to represent Spain as long as Luis Rubiales remained President of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). This protest was triggered by Rubiales' controversial behavior during the Women's World Cup final when he kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the medal ceremony, an action Hermoso claims was not consensual.
Spain World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso has said the decision to call up players who are still boycotting the national team is proof "nothing has changed", despite the departure of federation president Luis Rubiales and head coach Jorge Vilda. pic.twitter.com/jg6jRIoMy6
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) September 19, 2023
Newly appointed head coach Montse Tome, addressing the issue, stated, "We stand with Jenni. We believe that the best way to protect her is like this, but we are counting on Jenni." Tome is optimistic about a fresh start for the team and eager to build a connection with the players.
Following the squad announcement, Hermoso released a statement stating: "Protect me from what? Protect me from who?...The people who now ask us to trust them are the same ones who today disclosed the list of players who have asked NOT to be called up."
Hermoso expressed her belief that the federation's decision to call up players who are still boycotting the national team is proof "nothing has changed".
🚨 A very clear statement from Jenni Hermoso
Today, Monste Tomé claimed to not have called up Jenni to the squad in order to protect Jenni and this is what she has to say ⤵️ https://t.co/kFtTNWvBMx
— Alex Ibaceta (@alexibaceta23) September 19, 2023
Rubiales officially resigned from his position last week, but a statement from 39 players, including 21 World Cup winners, clarified that his departure did not resolve the underlying issues within the RFEF. According to the players, returning to national team duty was contingent on creating a "safe place" and addressing deep-seated problems within the federation.
Rubiales himself has been slapped with a restraining order, prohibiting him from coming within 200m of Hermoso, amid allegations of sexual assault under consideration by the Madrid national court.
Coach Tome's recent squad announcement for the upcoming Nations League matches against Sweden and Switzerland includes 15 of the World Cup-winning players but whether these players will accept their call-ups remains uncertain. Notable players' Mapi Leon and Patri Guijarro, who protested against former coach Jorge Vilda and were omitted from the World Cup squad, have been named in the squad.